Out and About 2023

Branch New Year Lunch - Sunday 22nd January 2023

It is always great to have a Branch get together after the excesses of Christmas and this year was no exception. Forty-three members and friends enjoyed an excellent three course lunch at Ferraris Country House Hotel, Longridge and as always the staff welcomed us and provided great service. The weather was not good however and only two brave Morrises ventured out – good for them!

At this time of year recognition awards are given to members for services to the Branch.  This is normally at our AGM but on this occasion our “Hard Luck” award, provided by Richard Lancaster, was presented to Sid Bennett at the dinner for his tireless work on his father’s Traveller. Now great looking and back on the road Sid clearly loves driving his Traveller in memory of his dad.

Our Chairman Andrew Whittaker passed on a message from our Antipodean member Byron Littlewood who is keeping in touch and has now received his Traveller in Australia and obtained his historic number plates! He has wasted no time in joining with like-minded Moggie owners in New South Wales where he has been warmly welcomed.  

Manchester Branch Winter Rally, Museum of Transport – Sunday 26th February 2023

Our Branch members always look forward to this rally at the start of the season.  This is always a popular event for our Branch and LMMOC not only shows plenty of support for our friends at Manchester Branch, but we are usually represented in the awards at the end of the rally day. A ‘convoy’ of members met up at Rivington Services on the M61, . It was a bright morning with a clear view of Winter Hill to the East but it was too cold to give the cars the polishing they would normally receive whilst waiting for the complete convoy to arrive.  Nine Minors of LMMOC members attended the rally and several other Branch members were at the rally having arrived in their daily/modern cars. There were at least 45 Minors inside the hall and a few more outside along with a few other classic cars of other makes. We were made very welcome by the folks from Manchester Branch and there was a very sociable atmosphere generally with Minors and visitors from various parts of the North of England and Wales. Hot food and beverages were available and consumed throughout the day. The museum has a fantastic range of public service vehicles on display from a horse drawn double decker "bus" to almost modern Manchester trams and there are re-creations of transport ticket offices, meeting rooms etc.  Free vintage bus rides around various parts of Manchester were very popular until presentation time came

Andrew with his Trophy

Just prior to the presentations, the event organiser gave a special message of thanks for past support to the Manchester rally, Once again, Lancashire Branch kept up its tradition of being in the awards at this event with our Chairman's Old English Traveller being awarded the 'Best in Show' trophy.

Branch Visit to the Spitfire Visitor Centre – Saturday 18th March 2023

Five cars, including three Minors, met at the Phantom Winger pub in Fulwood, Preston and set off in convoy to the Spitfire Museum in Blaclpool.  We had left plenty of time to get to the Visitor Centre and when we arrived we had time for photos of the Minors which now numbered four with other members meeting us at the airport. 

We were welcomed by one of the Visitor Centre volunteers and guided into their impressive facility.  Our visit started in the Briefing Room and we found out that the hangar is original and saw active service during World War II.  They have worked hard to make the interior as reflective as possible of how it would have been at the time and there were period maps of the surrounding area and chalk boards completed with genuine data showing active flight information from the time. 

Our 22 members were split up into four groups and we visited each of the four stations within the hangar, where a guide gave us fascinating explanations of the exhibits and answered any questions we had.  They were passionate and very knowledgeable about the subject matter and the exhibits and it was particularly sobering to get ‘hands on’ with some of the ammunition of the time and think how the aluminium skin of the Spitfire and the aluminium/wooden frame of the Hurricane would offer no resistance at all to the projectiles and just how vulnerable the young, brave pilots were.  We heard how Blackpool played an important part in the training of Polish aircrew and the significant contribution that it had had to the war effort.

Later we were treated to a welcome brew in the NAAFI, which felt very reflective of the time thanks, in no small part, to the cabinets on the walls filled with period products, condiments and confectionary.

A most enjoyable and very interesting Branch visit.

Branch Visit to Embsay Steam Railway – Good Friday 7th April 2023

It was a gloriously sunny Good Friday and time for the Branch to make its annual visit to Bolton Abbey Station on the Embsay Steam Railway.  After meeting as usual at McDonalds on the A59 for a coffee, a chat and a comfort stop thirteen cars eventually arrived at Bolton Abbey Station to be parked in a specially reserved area in front of the magnificent station buildings.  The staff were welcoming and helpful as our cars were carefully positioned and displayed and they created the usual interest and admiration from the public young and old alike.

The railway was running an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ day so many of the volunteers were dressed in appropriate costumes including a very lively Mad Hatter! It all added to the atmosphere.  After cups of coffee and bacon butties members enjoyed a trip on the wonderful vintage train before enjoying picnics and in some cases an energetic walk to nearby Bolton Abbey!

The Branch has visited the railway for many years on Good Friday and as we all left the staff said they looked forward to our future visits which they really value.  What an enjoyable day!

Spring Transport Festival – Sunday 16th April 2023

Our friends at the British Commercial Vehicle Museum at Leyland organised their Spring Transport Festival for Sunday 16th April. They picked a good weekend for it as the roads were dry and, despite the threat of rain from the dark clouds that lingered all day, we only saw an odd spit and spot.

It was a well organised event and the marshalling was spot-on. It attracted a wide variety of vehicles from classic HGV tractor units, to motorbikes with a bit of something for everyone in between. 

LVC Show at Astley Park - Sunday 14th May 2023

The Lancashire Vehicle Club always organise a good show and this one at Astley Park in Chorley was no exception, There were 9 Minors at the show all belonging to Lancashire Branch members. 

As ever at an LVC show, there was a tremendous variety of vehicles to be seen and the public thoroughly enjoyed looking around the cars.  It was a lovely show in the beautiful setting of Astley Hall gardens.

Bleasdale Tower and Gardens – Sunday 21st May 2023

It was a glorious sunny day for our annual Branch visit to Bleasdale Tower Open Day on Sunday 21st May. Set in magnificent gardens with stunning views across the plain Bleasdale is the perfect setting for a small gathering of classic cars.

After meeting at the Flower Bowl at Barton Grange, or driving directly there, our cars were grouped together on the field in front of the house along with other lovely vehicles including representatives of the local MG Club, an Armstrong Siddeley and a 1920s Rover.

We are always made very welcome at Bleasdale and apart from the fabulous views we were able to enjoy the usual cups of tea & coffee, beef burgers and sausage baps as well as being tempted by the plant stalls, and the delicious scones with strawberries and cream! All this as a brass band played tunes from the “Sound of Music” in the background.

The gardens with the azaleas and rhododendrons in full flower were a joy to walk round and all the volunteers there worked really hard to ensure everyone had a good day.

This is a lovely event and well worth a visit.

Miranda Minor Visits Lancashire - May 2023

The Lancashire Branch was very lucky to have the National MMOC charity fundraising car 'Miranda' with us in Lancashire in May. At our May Branch meeting at Fox Lane in Leyland members were able to see Miranda up close and see that the MMOC have done a fantastic job of making her so eye-catching in her fabulous yellow, Marie Curie-Daffodil livery. The Branch took the opportunity to take Miranda to three major events over the following bank holiday weekend and raised a significant amount of money for the Marie Curie Charity.

Preston Flag Market - Friday 26th May 2023

Our first collection day was on the Flag Market in Preston City Centre.  We had a good display of Minors to keep Miranda company and it was the first outing for our new Branch Gazebo.  The Gazebo, together with the liveried counter, looked fabulous on our stand and the cars drew lots of attention from the public and some very generous donations.  It was a hot, sunny day and the baked potato stand and ice cream vendor were very welcome to keep us fuelled during the collection. A brilliant day.

Chipping Steam Fair - Sunday 28th May

Sunday was a little bit cooler in the morning with a lovely breeze blowing through the classic car section at Chipping Steam Fair.  The Branch attendees had met in nearby Longridge and then  convoyed to the show with Miranda taking the lead.  The Classic Car Steward saw us coming and gave us a great position to display our vehicles. 

This is always a wonderful show and day out and again we raised another significant sum of money for Marie Curie. 

Great Harwood Show - Monday 29th May

Our final event was the Branch Spring Rally at the Great Harwood Agricultural Show on bank holiday Monday.  For a bank holiday weekend, it was hard to believe that we were seeing blue skies and sunshine again, but we were definitely blessed. Dedicated Branch members put in long stints holding the collection buckets and kept cheerful smiles on their faces while talking to members of the public about Miranda and the Lancashire Branch MMOC.    Later in the day, the show organisers allowed us to take a selection of Minors, led by Miranda, around the main show arena.  As the cars were taking their lap of honour, Branch members were walking around the ring taking donations.  The generosity of the public was incredible and the money couldn’t get into the buckets fast enough.  The public seemed to be thrilled at the sight of the Minors and were smiling and waving as we drove around.  

Scorton Steam Fair - 17th & 18th June 2023

A lovely 2-day event, held on our doorstep and not too far to travel.  Scorton Steam Fair is one of the North West’s biggest steam fairs, with over 600 exhibits of vehicles of all ages, shapes and sizes.

There were more cars there on Saturday than Sunday.  There was another classic car show on Lytham Green on the Sunday and quite a few cars that were at Scorton on Saturday had booked in to go there.

Entertainment on Sunday afternoon was provided by the Stag Owners Club, with 4 people demonstrating how not to put up the hood on a convertible.  They must have spent a good 10 minutes struggling to get the rear catch aligned before the hood could be locked into position.

The Main Ring attraction this year was the Steve Colley Motorcycle Stunt Show.  Steve did 2 x 30 minute shows each day.  He provides his own commentary via a helmet mounted microphone. The show consists of a full range of freestyle tricks, stunts, jumps and drops off his Mercedes Van.  He also has a mono bike - a normal trials bike with the front forks, suspension and wheel removed, on which he manages to complete a full circuit of the arena before riding up the ramp and parking it on top of his trailer.

Although not an organised Lancashire Branch supported event, there were several members of the Branch there, some with their Minors, some with their other cars.

Branch Rally at Leighton Hall - Sunday 2nd July 2023

Several Branch members met up and drove in convoy to our annual rally at Leighton Hall while others drove directly to the event. We had an excellent attendance of over 50 Branch members with a well-presented display of 28 Minors. It was planned that we would display our Minors in a 75 pattern to represent the 75th anniversary of the Morris Minor but due to some members being held up by traffic problems on the way to the rally we ended up with an alternative arrangement which looked equally as good. As usual, as this was our main Branch main rally of the year, a lot of preparatory work had gone in to gathering tombola prizes and jigsaws and books for sale. Fortunately, we had our traditional position just in front of Leighton Hall under the veranda wall. There was a constant flow of visitors to our busy stalls. The fund raising took place under the large gazebo, staffed by enthusiastic volunteers who raised a significant amount of money for our nominated charity - Marie Curie.

Goosnargh and Longridge Agricultural Show – Saturday 8th July 2023

The weather in the week leading up to the show had been terrible, thunder, lightning and heavy rain but the forecast for Saturday was sunshine, with periods of light rain. This show is a typical local agricultural show with classes for horses, sheep, cattle, handicrafts and horticulture.  One feature is the Pedigree Dog Show, with over 400 dogs and owners hoping to take home the Best in Show Award.  There is also a Pet Dog section for best biscuit catcher, puppy and most obedient etc. Sadly the variable weather forecast had reduced the number of entries in the Vintage Section for cars, commercials and tractors.  The display by the Blackpool and Fylde Land Rover Club had more vehicles than the whole of the Classic Car and Commercial sections put together.

In the Classic Car section, a 1951 Lea Francis was 1st, followed by a 1928 Austin 7 Chummy, with a 1977 Capri 3rd.  Our Branch was represented by 4 cars - two Travellers, one Saloon and an Austin Pickup. The Pickup won 1st in the Commercial Section for the 2nd year running and also the Philip Cowell Memorial Cup for “Best Exhibit in the Vintage Section”. The day proved to be a delightful local event.

Pilling Vintage Weekend – Sunday 9th July 2023

Well, what a contrast in the weather from the day before at Goosnargh and Longridge Show.  Blue Sky everywhere and not a cloud in sight. Some Branch members joined friends from Pilling Old Car Club and also Blackpool Vehicle Preservation Group for a very quiet and relaxing day out.  About 75 cars attended during the day, as well as Tractors, Motorbikes and Cycles.  No parades around the ring or prize giving today, just get the chairs and table out, put up the parasols, chat with friends and enjoy the day.  The village hall café was doing a roaring trade in cooked breakfast and at a very reasonable price too.

Pilling is not very far from Cockerham, where the Black Knights Skydiving Centre is based; see https://bkpc.co.uk  and members were able to watch the plane taking off and landing and see the parachutes coming down. Another lovely day!


Runway Visitor Park, Manchester Airport - Sunday 9th July 2023

Our Branch was represented  at the Manchester Airport event on Sunday 9th July, after the Manchester Branch kindly invited our members to join them there where they were given a very warm welcome by the chairman and other members of the Manchester Branch MMOC.. In spite of the forecast, we had sunny weather for most of the day. It was an interesting and exciting event. There was a mixture of modern classics, classics and some vintage vehicles. Our Minors were all parked very close to the perimeter fence this year (and also right next to the commentary box so it was quite loud at times!) meaning that the aircraft that were taxiing past were very close. It was amazing to see the really large jets passing so near to our cars! There was no charge for the event and it is well worth going if you get the chance.

Gt Eccleston Agricultural Show – Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th July 2023

This is probably one of the best 2-day Agricultural Show in the North West of England and certainly on a par with the Royal Lancashire Show.  There really is something for everyone.

If you have ever been stuck behind a tractor and trailer, please spare a thought for the people who got stuck behind a certain Combined Harvester.  On display, by the main ring, was a Class Combined Harvester that had been driven from John o’ Groats to Land’s End.  It covered 200 miles a day and took 5 days to complete the journey.  The group hoped to raise £10.000.00 for charity but eventually raised £87.330.00. Please follow this link https://www.justgiving.com/team/combinejogle for more details on this story.  Well done to all concerned for their efforts.  Another brilliant show which was enjoyed by all.

East Lancashire Railway Classic Car Day – Sunday 30th July 2023

Branch Member, Steve Rose, has been busy over the past few months organising with the East Lancashire Railway for us to attend their annual Classic Car Day.  Over the years, Steve has built up a very good relationship with the railway and, not only do they make us very welcome, they allocate us a lot of spaces at an always over-subscribed event.

As always when going to this event, we met at Rivington Services on the M61 to travel in convoy. We were very pleased to welcome some colleagues from the Leeds Branch MMOC who had left a sunny morning behind in Leeds to join us at the event.  There were five of them in four Minors (three saloons and a pick-up). 

Members boarded the 10.40am diesel-hauled train from Heywood Station and stopped off at Bury for a look around the station there and the Bury Transport Museum.  The railway kindly issue us with wristbands that give free travel on the full length of the line, as well as free access to the Transport Museum.  Many then caught the steam-hauled service all the way to Rawtenstall and back to Heywood.  That filled the day nicely, arriving back at Heywood for quarter-to-four (the event finished at 4pm).  At the end of the event, our chairman Andrew Whittaker was awarded third prize out of all the exhibits at the show for his lovely Traveller.  Congratulations, Andrew.  

Garstang Show - Saturday 5th August 2023

Some of our Branch members had booked in for Classics in the Park, Preston but then were invited to go to Garstang Show.  For some reason this year, both events fell on the same Saturday - normally they are on consecutive Saturdays. Well, another Saturday, another show (sounds like a song title) and the weather was still the same as normal - wet and windy! However, this was an enjoyable event although there was a  limited number in the Vintage Section - just 14 entries in the Classic Cars and Commercials sections - and the rain did not stop play!.


MMOC Northern Regional Rally – 19th & 20th August 2023

The rally was planned and run by the South Cheshire Moggies (SCM) Branch of the MMOC. It was held over the weekend of 19/20th August at the Blakemere Village attraction near Northwich. The SCM folks did a brilliant job in creating a successful and friendly event. The Minors were arranged in a display by type of model in the show field adjacent to the Blakemere Village. Part of the Village is an excellent camping and caravan site where some members stayed for a few days and where there was also lots of entertainment, eating and retail opportunities in the Village.

The primary charity chosen by SCM to raise funds for, over the weekend, was the local charity Young Lives vs Cancer which supports children who are cancer sufferers and their family members who may be affected by the child's illness. One of several fund-raising activities for the charity was a very welcome refreshment tent staffed by hard working SCM members which offered excellent hot filled rolls and drinks throughout the weekend with no charge, although a voluntary donation from diners was gratefully received on behalf of the charity. The MMOC Miranda Minor with the Marie Curie livery was at the rally to continue the fund raising for that charity in this the 75th Anniversary year for both the charity and the Morris Minor.

Members relaxing and enjoying the sunshine

On the Saturday evening local SCM members and others visitors who were staying at the caravan park, were treated to excellent live music and a meal in the "T.Pee" - a very large Teepee style tent which could easily hold 100 people and was busy. The sociable SCM folks and the venue created a very enjoyable evening.

The weather on the Saturday and more M6 closures to the North of Blakemere, may have deterred some Minor owners from coming to the rally on the Saturday. However, better weather and open motorways, seemed to have encouraged more owners of Minors and other cars to be displayed on the Sunday. Over the weekend, Lancashire MMOC was represented by 11 Morris Minor cars and vans. There were about 60 or more Minors displayed over the weekend along with several other classic cars. Lancashire Branch cars were chosen for two 'Best in Class Awards' - John for his two-door saloon and Maureen for "Fruity Franks" van.  They were each presented with a prestigious trophy and certificate - congratulations to them both.

Malham Show – Saturday 26th August 2023

Malham is always a lovely traditional country show and it is also a great show for Lancashire Branch MMOC as we are the only classic cars on display! This year was no exception.

Fifteen Morris Minors looked resplendent in the display area at the entrance to the show after meeting at MacDonalds on the A59 and driving in convoy to the event. What a sight that was especially along the very narrow Yorkshire lanes approaching the showground.  As in previous years the cars drew a great deal of interest and admiration from the public who reminisced about learning to drive in one, having one as their first car and so on, as we often hear.

'Best in Show' car and owner Mike

The show organisers awarded cash prizes and a trophy to those they judged as the best cars there. Mike won first prize for his maroon Convertible as well as the Special Prize – a silver cup – for being ‘Best in Show’ whilst Russ and Barbie’s lovely Convertible came second and Bill and Kath’s regular award-winning Traveller third. As the club was the only one there it wasn’t difficult to bag all three prizes!  The weather was bright and sunny and stayed kind until early afternoon when rain saw many head for home. Nevertheless, it was a lovely enjoyable day for all. If you have not been to the show before then it is one you should consider for next year.  A brilliant event!

Branch Summer Lunch – Sunday 27th August 2023

Sunday 27th August was the day of the Branch summer lunch at Ferrari’s Country House Hotel, near Longridge. The arrangements with the hotel were impeccable thanks to the hard work of member Shirley who, over the years, has built up a great relationship with the Ferrari’s team. Forty five members attended the lunch and the food at the hotel was up to its usual high standard and there was a great atmosphere with members enjoying a good natter.

There were seven Minors lined up outside the hotel and they looked fantastic all together.

LVC Worden Park Show - Sunday 17th September 2023

Since our friend and honorary member, Byron Littlewood, emigrated to Australia last year he has received a phenomenal amount of support from Owen Sinden (a member of the New South Wales Morris Minor Club and the editor of their superb ‘Minor Torque’ magazine).  Owen has supported Byron from getting his Traveller released from Customs through to getting it registered on historic plates to benefit from cheaper road tax.  He has also taken Byron to their Club meetings and introduced him to many people.  This support has enabled Byron to get settled into Morris life in Australia.

Owen has been on a UK touring holiday during September and made the time to join us at the Lancashire Vehicle Club (LVC) Show at Worden Park. 

Chairman Andrew Whittaker and Secretary Gareth Slater were very pleased to welcome Owen to the Show and to thank him in person for all the help and support that he has given to Byron since his emigration.  Due to the good Branch representation at the Show, they were able to introduce Owen to several of our members.  We were very pleased to present him with Branch merchandise for him and his partner, Indra, to take home.  We gave them a Branch-liveried Polo Shirt each and a Baseball Cap, together with three of the Branch enamel lapel badges (one for each of them and the third for Byron), so that they had a memento of their time with the Lancashire MMOC.

Lakeland Car Museum - Drive and Ride It Day, Saturday 7th October 2023

On the 1st Saturday of each month, the Lakeland Car Museum at Backbarrow hosts the monthly gathering of the Lakeland Historic Car Club.  This museum’s theme this month was to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the post war Morris Minor, see https://www.lakelandmotormuseum.co.uk/about/news/museums-rallying-cry-to-morris-minor-owners.

Some Branch members attended the meet and when they arrived there was reserved parking for Minors.  There were 18 Minors on display and two interesting vehicles, a customized flatbed Pickup with a non-standard engine and cut down Traveller, now masquerading as a Pickup.


As well as the featured Minors, there was a host of other classics on display, including a 1 family-owned Fiat 500, which was bought new in 1967.

It was a typical damp, overcast Lakeland Day.  The river Leven was in full flow and a group of kayakers provide the entertainment for the people on the café terrace.  In the back ground, we saw one of the steam engines on the Haverthwaite Railway chugging up and down the line, puffing out clouds of white smoke.  It all made a pleasing backdrop to the day’s events.

Classics at the Mill – Sunday 8th October 2023

We have been having quite a lot of wet days recently but Sunday 8th October was a beautiful Autumn day with mild temperatures, the result of the warm sunshine. It happened to coincide with the monthly classic car meet at St Catherine’s Hospice.

On a nice day, you can usually expect around 80 cars to attend but this month’s meet was the busiest our members have ever seen with 120 cars but, as you can arrive and leave when you want, some were probably missed being seen so that figure could be even higher. The main car park, the overspill car park and the access road were all full and owners were having to resort to parking their cars on the car park by the Mill Café.

The Branch was well represented with members attending in a variety of classics and there was a tremendous variety of classics on display, just from LMMOC.

Blackpool Illuminations Run – Wednesday 11th October 2023

It had rained heavily all day but in the evening the weather was kind to us for our annual run through Blackpool Illuminations and our fish and chip supper.

Meeting at the Phantom Winger it was great to see our Minors driving in convoy along the M55 in time to meet up with other club members at Starr Gate. It was then a drive all together, before the lights came on, to the Bispham Kitchen where everyone tucked in to excellent fish and chips.

Then it was time to gather outside the restaurant before we all set off again in convoy to travel through the lights. What a great sight that was. And some brave souls – me included – dropped the rooves of their convertibles so they could look up and really appreciate the spectacular displays. And mention must be made of Andrew Whittaker’s efforts to replicate the lights inside his Traveller!

It was lovely to hear the encouraging shouts from passers-by in particular young people who seem to really love seeing our cars. All too soon everyone gathered back at Starr Gate – again an amazing sight – before setting off for home. This club event is always enjoyable evening.year.

Heskin Hall Car Show- Sunday 15th October 2023

A classic car meet has been taking place every month at Heskin Hall, near Eccleston for some time now and this month there were over 100 cars at this event which was a thoroughly enjoyable and friendly event.

Just amongst the Minors there was much going on and we were very pleased to meet new branch members, Peter and Linda who were attending their first event. They have a lovely saloon that is in very good condition. We were also pleased to see another member Keith in his freshly renovated Traveller – a lovely example with which he is understandably pleased having finally taken delivery.


Mechanics’ Day – Saturday 11th November 2023

It was the last Mechanics’ Day of the year and whilst chilly the sun shone, the tea flowed and the usual pies were eaten! Twelve cars and many more members enjoyed the chat and banter, sorting through spare parts and some work was done too – adjusting a clutch on one Morris and a choke cable which had become kinked preventing easy starting on another Morris.

The highlight was when member Ian brought his superbly restored smoke grey Minor for us all to see. We were in awe of the professional finish he had achieved – all at his own house under a gazebo - well done to him. And of course Jeff, our Branch mascot, was as lively and popular as ever!

Finally, a poignant part of the day was when we held a two minutes silence at 11:00 to remember all those lost serving their country during conflict.

We all look forward to the start of Mechanics’ Days again in February 2024 but in the meantime we will be cossetting our cars during the winter months.